Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sticky Goo

One thing that I know about myself is that I do not like personal conflict. You might respond, "Well who does?" But my level of dislike lies on a very profound and impactful level. Personal conflicts, when they arise in my life, can utterly destroy my entire foundation. They can sap me completely of my strength and peace of mind, and it can take me days to come back to equilibrium. I have found a measureable affect on my health, my ability to sleep, and my overall attitude. My reaction to conflict is no different when I am at fault or blameless in the interaction.

I once witnessed a friend of mine get into a very contentious row with another colleague. Heated words were exchanged that bordered on personal affronts. I could tell that all of us who were in the room during the to-do were more than a bit uncomfortable. Just a few moments after the rousing, we all left to go our separate ways. In talking to my friend on the way out, he had already sloughed the whole episode off and was clearly completely unfazed. If I had been a part of that kind of fracas, I would have dissolved into a sticky pool of goo for at least the rest of the day. Yet some folks obviously have a way to distance themselves from any lingering emotions after a quarrel. It just rolls off of them and they are done with it.

Recently I was involved with a bit of an assault from someone I know. It was a personal attack delivered through email with quite some ugliness and vehemence behind it. This person believed that they were righteously calling me to task for something that did not involve them directly. Yet their harsh and hurtful words came from a place of total ignorance. The affects of this verbal ambush lingered with me for quite a few days afterwards, although cognitively I knew that the attack was not fair and not justified. Although I should have been able to delete this email and wash my hands of its effects, I still melted into sticky goo.